UN arrives in southern Sudan

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

A group of 12 Nepalese soldiers was on board the flight that touched down at El-Obeid airport in the west of the country.

Eventually, 10,000 UN peacekeepers from China, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, Egypt, India, Bangladesh and some Western nations will be deployed to help reinforce a peace deal that has ended more than 20 years of conflict.

Last week, Australia’s Foreign Minister Robert Hill announced 15 Australian troops would be sent to Sudan for an initial period of 12 months.

He said there was a possibility of additional troop commitments.

Sudan’s civil war pitted rebels from the mainly Christian and animist south against the Muslim-dominated central government based in the north.

It is estimated up to two million people died in the conflict, mostly from war-induced famine and disease.

A further four million have become displaced.

A freshly signed agreement between Khartoum and John Garang, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, has paved the way for peace.

The formation of a 40-person commission to draft a constitution for the south was a key resolution.

Under the terms of the previous January 9 pact, southern Sudan will remain autonomous for six years, pending a referendum on the region’s self-determination.

In the interim, southern Sudan will be governed by a multi-party democracy, due to start in August.

Across the country in the western Darfur region, though, prospects for peace appear grimmer.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said abandoned villages are being burned by Janjaweed Arab militias.

The agency says around 55 villages were torched between October and November in an apparent bid to deter refugees from returning home.

Since February 2003, the bloodshed between rebels and government-supported militias is believed to have killed as many as 300,000 people and uprooted another two million.

A spokeswoman for the African Union (AU) at the weekend said peace talks between Khartoum and Darfur’s rebels will reconvene in early May.

In the meantime, the AU is looking to boost its 2,200-strong troop commitment in Darfur.

In an unprecedented move, NATO allies have agreed to consider offering logistical support to the AU’s Darfur mission, but officials have stressed no significant troop deployment was envisaged.

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